Africa is not a museum: the ethics of encouraging new parenting practices in rural communities in low-income and middle-income countries
The Nurturing Care Framework for Early Childhood Development urges stakeholders to implement strategies that help children worldwide achieve their developmental potential. Related programmes range from the WHO’s and UNICEF’s Care for Child Development intervention, implemented in 19 countries, to locally developed programmes, such as non-governmental organisation Tostan’s Reinforcement of Parental Practices in Senegal. However, some researchers argue that these programmes are unethical as they impose caregiving practices and values from high-income countries (HICs) on low-income communities, failing to consider local culture, communities’ goals for their children and generalisability of scientific findings from HICs. We explore these criticisms within a public health framework, applying principles of beneficence, autonomy and justice to the arguments. To facilitate the change communities themselves desire for their children, we recommend that practitioners codevelop programmes and cooperate with communities in implementation to harness local beliefs and customs and promote evidence-based and locally adapted practices.
Weber AM, Diop Y, Gillespie D, et al, Africa is not a museum: the ethics of encouraging new parenting practices in rural communities in low-income and middle-income countries, BMJ Global Health 2021;6:e006218.
IMAGE CREDIT Carsten de brink: Kumasi Kejetia mother and son is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0